Showcasing an array of local talent, the Fleadh Mhór Dhoíre is one of the largest community festivals to celebrate Irish traditional music and dance in Derry-Londonderry.
Although last year’s festival went fully online due to the pandemic, this year the festival organisers wanted to bring live performance back into real venues across the city.
Successfully taking place 19-28 August 2021, the festival demonstrated the importance of community arts in the enhancement of the city's cultural and creative ecosystem.
Organised by Greater Shantallow Community Arts and with over 400 local artists appearing in 50 venues across Derry-Londonderry, the festival was funded through the Community Relation Council’s Small Grants Scheme to raise awareness of, and appreciation for, cultural identity through cross community events and workshops.
Integral to the local community
“The Fleadh Mhór Dhoire 2021 allowed for a distinct opportunity for a shared cultural expression through the showcasing of indigenous local talent on a local, regional and national platform,” said Louise Hughes, Arts Programme Manager, Greater Shantallow Community Arts.
“And the public staging of the Fleadh played a vital role in the initiation of a bounce back process that our people, our artists and our city so badly needed as we begin the staged recovery from the impacts of the Covid-19 pandemic.”
This programme of events aptly demonstrated why it is has become so integral to the local community and to the fabric of the city itself.
“The opportunity for local people from all cultures and traditions to avail of enlightened, safe and extremely enjoyable public occasions throughout the Fleadh created and contributed to the enhancing of the wellbeing of our local citizens, visitors and tourists to our city and region,” Louise explained.
And these first steps at bringing live music back to the local community have had great benefits.
Louise continued: “The further contribution that Fleadh Mhór Dhoire 2021 has made to our city's regeneration stepping stones, by supporting the local economy has been most welcomed from our business and tourism sector reiterating the importance of community arts in the enhancement of our city's cultural and creative ecosystem.”
Creating clear guidance toward the implementation of Covid-19 restriction requirements helped, in Louise’s opinion, to ensure that all participants’ and audience safety was prioritised, as well as building confidence in the sector as a whole.
“The moving from an online delivery platform to a physical public Fleadh, whilst still subject to public health Covid restrictions, allowed us and the public to begin the journey towards normalisation that is so badly needed at this critical time,” Louise said.
Funding for the festival was delivered through the Community Relation Council’s CR/CD Small Grants Scheme.
CRC's funding of An Fleadh Mhór Dhoire 2021 has been crucial to ensuring not only the success of a wonderful, culturally diverse and life-enhancing programme of events that engaged many thousands of local residents, but also created a valuable opportunity for the shared expression of culture identities being celebrated in an atmosphere of mutual respect appreciation and enjoyment.”
Louise Hughes, Arts Programme Manager, Greater Shantallow Community Arts